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If you don’t have a pet in your life, then all of the cute pics of animals online may fool you into thinking that animals are just that - cute little ornaments that you have to feed. Pets are so much more than that, however, and any pet owner will tell you that they can be full of love and friendship. We searched various online communities high and low to bring you some of the most wholesome pics of animals that we’ve ever seen.

Scientifically, there are a few different concepts governing how we form relationships with the animals we love. One is their level of domestication – the more domesticated an animal is, the likelier it is to be able to form affectionate social relationships with humans. Another is anthropomorphism – our predilection for assigning human motivations and ideas to uniquely animal behaviors.

#1

Came Home To My Roommate's Dog Protecting My Kitten From The Loud Thunder And Lightning Outside

Came Home To My Roommate's Dog Protecting My Kitten From The Loud Thunder And Lightning Outside

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#2

They're Waiting In Line

They're Waiting In Line

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SheDeM
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Precious, innocent babies. This is incredible behavior. It's almost altruistic

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#3

This Is Luna. She's Not Usually Allowed On The Couch, But There Are Bigger Problems In The World, So She'll Be Right Here If You Need Her

This Is Luna. She's Not Usually Allowed On The Couch, But There Are Bigger Problems In The World, So She'll Be Right Here If You Need Her

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Human relationships can be complex, so arguably, inter-species friendships can be even more complex. Instead of people with different personalities, perspectives and experiences, we have all of that plus different species with different wiring and capabilities.

#4

I Feel Like It Was Saying "You First"

I Feel Like It Was Saying "You First"

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#5

Two Years Ago We Rescued The Dirtiest, Most Diseased, And Starving Tripod Dog. Today He Is Gorgeous

Two Years Ago We Rescued The Dirtiest, Most Diseased, And Starving Tripod Dog. Today He Is Gorgeous

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#6

A Cat Misses His Sister. He Sits Like This Every Day For Half An Hour. Animals Are Similar To Humans

A Cat Misses His Sister. He Sits Like This Every Day For Half An Hour. Animals Are Similar To Humans

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Jane No Dough
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So sad, not the first time I've seen an animal mourn. Don't understand the assumption that only humans experience loss this way. Anyone who studies animal behavior would tell them they are wrong.

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One of the most recognizable pillars of human-animal relationships (though certainly not the only one) is domestication. But how does domestication happen? We’re all familiar with the quasi-scientific story of wolves scavenging human waste and somehow gradually transforming into modern dogs, but how did that actually happen? One long-term scientific experiment in Siberia has shown (and continues to show) us what that may have looked like.

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#7

A Family Meowed On My Door And I Adopted Them

A Family Meowed On My Door And I Adopted Them

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#8

The Little Thing Might Just Float Away

The Little Thing Might Just Float Away

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#9

She’s An Old Lady, But When She Looks At Me Like This, She’s My Little Kitten Again

She’s An Old Lady, But When She Looks At Me Like This, She’s My Little Kitten Again

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perdyr2167 avatar
Somebodys grandmother
Community Member
9 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Just like our 15 yo dog. He's got dementia, sick kidneys - but haves the time of his life in his last months... and we spoil him ❤️

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In 1959, Dmitri Belyaev initiated a long-term experiment that would use silver foxes to explore how domestication may have occurred in other mammals from generation to generation. Generation after generation of captive wild foxes were selected for breeding based on signs of agreeability to human contact. Within the earlier generations, the selection processes were as simple as whether or not the fox chose to bite an assistant’s gloved hand or whether or not they could be trained to eat from an assistant’s hand.

#10

Orangutan Jungle School

Orangutan Jungle School

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Solidhog
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A wheelbarrow full of baby orangutans. That should be the alternative version of the saying "a barrel full of monkeys."

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#11

Nothing Like The Soothing Feel Of A Wonderful Furry Baby

Nothing Like The Soothing Feel Of A Wonderful Furry Baby

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#12

We Don’t Have Kids So My Wife And I Take Our Dog Around To Look At The Lights. He Loves It

We Don’t Have Kids So My Wife And I Take Our Dog Around To Look At The Lights. He Loves It

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In a few generations, a broad range of surprising separate genetic changes began to take shape. In addition to behavioral tendencies, the foxes began to develop floppy ears, piebald fur patterns, adolescent features, and other characteristics that we associate today with cute and domesticated animals. And, most importantly, these once-wild and -fearful foxes were now friendly and eager to please, some even learning to play fetch.

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#13

My Girlfriend Put A Bird Feeder On Our Deck. This Bastard Ate Himself To Sleep

My Girlfriend Put A Bird Feeder On Our Deck. This Bastard Ate Himself To Sleep

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#14

I Guess Not All Will Agree But I Found This Little Guy Quite Cute

I Guess Not All Will Agree But I Found This Little Guy Quite Cute

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#15

I'm Currently In The Early Stages Of Labor And I Think They All Know It

I'm Currently In The Early Stages Of Labor And I Think They All Know It

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As we’ve mentioned, domestication is not the only way that (once-wild) animals can form friendships with people. Some non-domesticated animals can also become friends with people under certain circumstances. One correlation is intelligence. Corvids, dolphins, and other intelligent creatures are regularly reported to understand human cues and form friendly, if not dependent, relationships. In other cases, wild animals with a natural tendency to form parental fixations or social relationships, like ducks, have formed social connections with people who’ve fit into their existing wild social behaviors.

#17

My Husband Comforting Our Kitten At The Vet

My Husband Comforting Our Kitten At The Vet

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Another common form of loose social relationship is when wild animals learn not to fear people based on simple reward psychology. In many national parks, for example, rangers caution visitors against feeding wild animals for precisely this reason. If visitors feed animals they see, the animals will learn not to fear people and to expect food from them, which can lead to dangerous situations.

#19

This Is Truffles. She Works At A Children’s Optometrist To Help Them Feel Better About Wearing Glasses

This Is Truffles. She Works At A Children’s Optometrist To Help Them Feel Better About Wearing Glasses

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Janine B.
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Seen this pic so many times but it still puts a huge smile on my face. :))))

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#20

I Brought One Of My Baby Bunnies To Meet My Great-Grandmother

I Brought One Of My Baby Bunnies To Meet My Great-Grandmother

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#21

Murphy, The Bald Eagle That Was Trying To Hatch A Rock, Has Been Given A Chick To Raise. Here He Is Feeding It

Murphy, The Bald Eagle That Was Trying To Hatch A Rock, Has Been Given A Chick To Raise. Here He Is Feeding It

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Many of the same ideas work for non-human inter-species friendships. Domestic animals are already well-equipped to form friendly and loving relationships with both people and animals, but what about inter-species friendships in the wild?

#22

After Almost 1.5 Years Of Training, I Entered My 6-Year-Old Rescue Bully In His First Agility Competition. He Was The Only Pitbull-Type Dog There

After Almost 1.5 Years Of Training, I Entered My 6-Year-Old Rescue Bully In His First Agility Competition. He Was The Only Pitbull-Type Dog There

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#23

Our Dog Has Hardly Left My Wife’s Side Since Baby Arrived. He’s A Proud Older Brother

Our Dog Has Hardly Left My Wife’s Side Since Baby Arrived. He’s A Proud Older Brother

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#24

Our Newest Rescue. She’s Afraid Of Men So My Husband Put A Blanket Down For Her To Choose When To Approach. She Laid By Him And Used His Head For A Pillow

Our Newest Rescue. She’s Afraid Of Men So My Husband Put A Blanket Down For Her To Choose When To Approach. She Laid By Him And Used His Head For A Pillow

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Many such friendships are built on naturally occurring mutualistic tendencies. These are cases where certain species rely on one another to gain an advantage in their environment and both benefit from the exchange.

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#25

I Hope This Picture Will Brighten Your Day A Bit

I Hope This Picture Will Brighten Your Day A Bit

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#26

I’ve Been Taken Hostage. Send Help

I’ve Been Taken Hostage. Send Help

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#27

Sweet Support Dog Who Gives Comfort To Children At The Dentist, Priceless

Sweet Support Dog Who Gives Comfort To Children At The Dentist, Priceless

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One example is the oxpecker, a bird that loves to perch on the backs of various large mammals living in Africa. The birds find easy meals on the backs of zebra, wildebeest and other creatures as they feast on the various parasitic insects that these mammals attract. Their relatively gigantic friends also keep them safe from smaller predators, while the birds, in addition to providing a hygienic benefit, keep watch in all directions and can alert their larger hosts if any large predators or humans approach.

#28

I Often Substitute Teach At A Small Farm Town Nearby. Here's The Agriculture Class's Current "Project"

I Often Substitute Teach At A Small Farm Town Nearby. Here's The Agriculture Class's Current "Project"

She was born premature, close to 2 lbs when most are born closer to 10 lbs.

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#30

When You Tell Her A Story That She Doesn't Understand, But She Loves You Anyway

When You Tell Her A Story That She Doesn't Understand, But She Loves You Anyway

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#31

Now That’s A Great Place To Be

Now That’s A Great Place To Be

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#32

Proton Celebrated Her Sweet Sixteen Today

Proton Celebrated Her Sweet Sixteen Today

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#33

Went To The Beach Feeling Bad About Having To Hang Alone, This Cutie Decided To Join Me Out Of Nowhere And Helped Me Feel Much Better

Went To The Beach Feeling Bad About Having To Hang Alone, This Cutie Decided To Join Me Out Of Nowhere And Helped Me Feel Much Better

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#34

Precious Golden Retriever Allows Lost Koala Joey To Snuggle With Her

Precious Golden Retriever Allows Lost Koala Joey To Snuggle With Her

A lost koala Joey has been found snuggled onto the back of a family's golden retriever. The Joey is believed to have been lost and found it way onto the family's back porch and used the golden for warmth.
The golden is believed to have allowed Joey to spend the entire night on her back before the family found her like this the following morning.

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#35

Someone At The Purrfect Day Cat Cafe In Louisville, KY Filling Out The Paperwork To Take This Kitty Home

Someone At The Purrfect Day Cat Cafe In Louisville, KY Filling Out The Paperwork To Take This Kitty Home

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#36

My Brother Is In Another State Right Now Due To His Job. His Wife Decided To Set Up A Skype Date For Him And His Dog

My Brother Is In Another State Right Now Due To His Job. His Wife Decided To Set Up A Skype Date For Him And His Dog

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#38

My Cat Is A Very Proud Mom

My Cat Is A Very Proud Mom

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#39

He Likes To Monch. It’s Gonna Be A Loooooong Car Ride

He Likes To Monch. It’s Gonna Be A Loooooong Car Ride

Freeman Farm Miniature Cows Report

#40

My Wife's Grandma Passed In Her Room Yesterday With All Of Us Around. My Dog Always Protected Her While She Was Lonely. He's Been Looking For His Friend All Day

My Wife's Grandma Passed In Her Room Yesterday With All Of Us Around. My Dog Always Protected Her While She Was Lonely. He's Been Looking For His Friend All Day

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#41

I Met This Adorable Guy Today. Cuteness Overload

I Met This Adorable Guy Today. Cuteness Overload

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#42

One Of The Most Unique Friendships We've Ever Seen

One Of The Most Unique Friendships We've Ever Seen

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#44

One Of The Kittens In Our Neonate Center At Work Decided To Show Off The Beans

One Of The Kittens In Our Neonate Center At Work Decided To Show Off The Beans

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#46

My Mother Insisted We Put A Bindi On My Bird To Celebrate Diwali

My Mother Insisted We Put A Bindi On My Bird To Celebrate Diwali

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veebigsister10-18 avatar
Bookworm(she/her)
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't know a lot about bindis but I know that the bird certainly looks amazing in it

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#47

My Cat Showed Up At My House Like This Today. Apparently, We Have A Cat Lover In Our Street

My Cat Showed Up At My House Like This Today. Apparently, We Have A Cat Lover In Our Street

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#48

My Wife Is Three Weeks Away From Her Due Date And Our Cats Love Snuggling Her Belly

My Wife Is Three Weeks Away From Her Due Date And Our Cats Love Snuggling Her Belly

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#49

This Is My Boyfriend's Office, He Works From Home. Here Are All Of The Socks She Brought Up From The Basement To The Third Floor For Him Today

This Is My Boyfriend's Office, He Works From Home. Here Are All Of The Socks She Brought Up From The Basement To The Third Floor For Him Today

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SheDeM
Community Member
9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Now if you can just persuade her to put the clean socks in the drawer...

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#50

Couldn't Figure Out Why My Music Kept Pausing

Couldn't Figure Out Why My Music Kept Pausing

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Note: this post originally had 150 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.

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